March at Syracuse University. It’s cold and snowy. There’s a depressing lack of March Madness. Most of us are mourning the selection committee’s terrible oversight regarding the men’s team, and the women’s season being cut short by UConn once again. Fortunately for the die-hard sports fans among us, another team is about to open their season on Syracuse’s North Side. Spring is just around the corner, which means baseball season is, too.
Just across from Destiny USA, behind the bus station, hides one third of the Syracuse sports holy trinity. There’s the Orange, the Crunch… and the Chiefs. A Syracuse Chiefs’ baseball game is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon: affordable, easy to get to and fun — even if you aren’t an intense baseball fan.
Because they’re the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate, the players you’ll see are one step away from the major leagues. Last summer, fans at NBT Bank Stadium got to see Yankee favorite Nick Swisher play some of his last games before announcing his retirement. We watched him crush a home run that managed to dent our scoreboard. Current Nationals standout Trea Turner has watched his career skyrocket since his time in Syracuse, and now fans scramble to buy Chiefs jerseys with his name across the back. Another fun fact: the front office is full of Newhouse alumni from every possible major.
If you’re more about the game-day experience than the action on the field, the Chiefs will deliver with their in-game promotions, mascot antics and theme days. Dollar Thursday — including $2 beers — is the highlight of any poor college student’s week. Fan-favorite theme days like Star Wars Night and Armed Forces Day are returning this year, and you’ll have to stop by the stadium to see what giveaways you can go home with. Everyone likes free stuff, right? Bobbleheads, t-shirts and pint glasses came out of last year’s boxes, just to name a few. Stay alert while in your seat in case of flying t-shirts or stress balls, or the infamous Kiss Cam. (It’s not that bad, we promise.)
I may be biased because I’m lucky enough to be a member of the Chiefs staff for a second season, but this is truly the most fun I’ve ever had while watching a live sporting event. If you don’t make it to at least one game before leaving Syracuse University, you can’t say you’ve had the full Syracuse sports experience. Opening Day is April 6th at 2:05 p.m., so check your schedule and Get On Board!
-Laurie Silverstein is a graduate student studying advertising